May 23, 2015 - 2:33 PM
OKANAGN – The early spring across the Okanagan this year is not only good for your tan but for local restaurants and family kitchens as well.
Across the valley, farmers are busy harvesting crops which normally wouldn't be ready for weeks. Fruits, berries, veggies and field crops all got a jump start this year, which means more variety earlier and in some cases, more abundant harvests.
Tony Cetinski of Suncatcher Farm on Benvoulin Road says this is one of the earliest springs he can remember. He supplies several local restaurants and says it's their customers who benefit the most.
“We’re two or three weeks ahead of where we were last year,” he says. “I think the quality will be better too because of it. Obviously plants respond to the sunshine so the more we have the better off we are.”
Restaurants wanting to take advantage of the extra flavour and eco-friendliness which comes with buying locally sourced produce often sacrifice convenience, but Kelowna's Krafty Kitchen head chef Chris Shafton says the brighter flavours and extra nutrition are worth the effort.
“This is an absolute dreamland for any professional chef,” he says. “I guarantee you that when you buy local you’re buying food that has more nutrition in it simply by the fact that it hasn’t travelled and sat dead for weeks.”
Paul Cecconi is the owner and head chef of Brodo Kitchen in Penticton. He uses produce from local farms because they can tailor their crops to his specific needs.
“We sit down and talk about what they’re going to grow and they provide us with as much as possible,” he says. “They season’s only so long so we try to do a lot of preserving, that way we can have those touches of an Okanagan summer in fall and winter.”
Even amateur chef’s are benefitting from the early spring and the unexpected bounty it brought.
Sophie Duke says one of the main reasons she and her family live in the South Okanagan during the summer is because of the wide variety of easily accessible local fruits and vegetables she can serve her kids.
She says local produce is o much tastier than the stuff which gets shipped up from the U.S. or Mexico.
“You can taste the difference. I don’t have to add anything to a tomato that was picked today. It’s ready to eat and it’s delicious.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015